As the office of the Istanbul Governor has declared a ban on all demonstrations around Taksim Square in an attempt to ward off the traditional 8 March Women’s Day parade, the organisers of the parade called on all women to meet at 7:30pm in Taksim despite the ban.
The Governor’s announcement has been followed by another one by the Istanbul Police Department that ‘unpermitted’ demonstrations would not be allowed. This brought to mind the violent police attacks against women parading in Istanbul on 8 March in recent years, which always has resulted in arrests and injuries.
It has also been announced by the authorities on Monday that the subway train would not make a stop at the Taksim station on 8 March.
The Women’s 8 March parade in Istanbul, organised since 2003, has turned into a strong tradition especially after it was attended by tens of thousands of women in mid 2010s.
It has been banned in the last couple of years although the bans have not stopped thousands from participating and marching.
The event was named ‘8 March Feminist Night Parade’ in 2007. Journalist Candan Yıldız of T24 notes:
“The night parade was politically positioned differently from the demonstrations that made an emphasis on the Working Women’s Day, as the former underlined the term ‘feminist’, and turned into a demonstration that was joined by LGBTIQ individuals alongside women.”
“The slogan, ‘There are lesbian women too’ began to be chanted in those years. The other things emphasised and the terms frequently used were, ‘the patriarchal system, the state violence, heterosexism, nationalism, militarism, an integrated political criticism of racism, and the joint struggle of feminists and Kurdish women gaining momentum in the 90s. The call for peace has always been on the agenda, and the tradition of reading statements in both Turkish and Kurdish began.”